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FG To Build New Medical Centre In Buhari’s Hometown, Few Months To Tenure Expiration



The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has budgeted N500 million for the establishment of a new federal medical center in Daura, Katsina State, President Buhari’s hometown.

This is contained in the N20.5 trillion 2023 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by the President earlier in October.

When completed, the hospital will rank Katsina as the only state in Nigeria with two Federal Medical Centres while 15 other states are without such a hospital.

The Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, is one of the existing 22 Federal Medical Centres distributed across the states of the federation and Abuja, the nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The distance between Daura and Katsina is said to be 83.6 kilometers, taking about one hour, and seven minutes by road.

While Katsina is billed to have two FMCs, there are 15 other states of the federation that are currently without such a medical center.

But the government has kept mute on the matter, describing it as a policy decision.

FMC Distribution
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, based on the six geopolitical zones, four states of Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti, and Ondo in the South-west region have a federal medical center each, while only Delta and Bayelsa in the South-south region have one each.

Like the South-South region, only two states – Imo and Abia in the South-east have the presence of FMCs while in the North-east, five states – Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, and Adamawa, have a center each.

In the North-central region of the country, Niger, Kogi, Benue, and the FCT have one each, and in the North-west, four states of Kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara, and Katsina also have one center each. But this may change soon if the new proposal by the President is accepted and another FMC is completed in Mr. Buhari’s hometown of Daura in Katsina State.

The states without FMC include Oyo and Osun in the South-west; Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Edo, and Cross River in South-south; Anambra, Ebonyi, and Enugu in the South-east; Kano, Kaduna, and Sokoto in North-west; Plateau and Kwara in North-central, and Borno in North-East.

Plan for FMC Daura in top gear
According to Premium Times, Governor Aminu Masari-led administration in the state has declared support for the establishment of the new federal medical center.

The governor has approved that an existing general hospital in the President’s town should be upgraded by the Federal Government to the new FMC. And in addition, the governor announced a donation of 50 hectares of land for the project.

The government has since directed the Katsina State Ministry of Health to liaise with the Ministry of Lands and Surveys to commence the demarcation of the land in Daura as well as the process of issuing the Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) to the Federal Ministry of Health.

More than FMC
Since Mr. Buhari assumed office as the President of Nigeria in 2015, his hometown of Daura has been regarded by many Nigerians as a “construction site” following the growing and an unprecedented number of capital projects located in the town.

In August 2019, the Nigerian government inaugurated the Nigerian Air Force Reference Hospital in the town.

According to Daily Trust, the hospital has equipment for radio-diagnosis, cancer screening, dialysis, laboratory diagnosis, and research, and the President was quoted to have said the hospital would “minimise the need for people to travel to other states and even abroad for health reasons”.

Similarly, in November same year, the Women and Children Hospital, Daura was established in the town by a philanthropist. The effort, the donor was quoted to have said, would reduce maternal and infant mortality.

The Project Manager, Mansor Korfi during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the health facility, stated that the hospital was to be built by Belamaoil Producing Limited “based on the demand of the people of Daura, who were asked to name a particular project to be sited in their area.”

There are other projects including the Transport University and others such as electrification and provision of solar systems, and rehabilitation of the Kongolam-Daura-Kano road.

In fact, more than 13 ongoing projects in the President’s hometown have been allocated more than N200 million in the 2023 budget proposal. They include the establishment of a booster station, the establishment of a Bioresources center, the fabrication of prototype machinery for the production of jute bags and allied products, and the development of an industrial tannery, among others.

The President has consistently emphasized his plans to retire to his hometown after completing his tenure in 2023 to take charge of his “abandoned farm”. Therefore, the turnaround of his hometown may not be unconnected with the retirement plan.

Lowest budget for State House clinic
Meanwhile, for the first time since his election into office, the Aso Rock clinic, otherwise regarded as the State House clinic, is expected to take care of the health of the first family, the family of his deputy, and other officials of the government has received the lowest budgetary allocation.

Commentators have linked this to the President’s end of tenure in 2023, while also arguing that the location of various capital projects in his hometown may be part of his plan to retire to his hometown.

PREMIUM TIMES observed that the State House Clinic for the first time in eight years is getting the lowest allocation of N455,204,236 from the N20.51 trillion 2023 budget proposal.

A breakdown of the allocations shows that in 2015, the clinic got N3.94 billion and N3.87 billion in 2016. This was followed by another allocation of N3.20 billion in 2017 and N1.03 billion in 2018, but reduced to N823.44 million in 2019 and N723 million in 2020.

But in spite of the heavy allocations to the clinic, the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari, had in 2017 criticized its management shortly after her daughter, Zahra reportedly took to her Instagram page to call out the management.

She criticized the then Permanent Secretary of the State House Clinic, Jalal Arabi, for not being able to provide ‘ordinary paracetamol’ in the clinic despite a budget of N3 billion for the provision of drugs to the hospital.

In 2020 and 2021, the sum of N416.6 million and N1.06 billion were budgeted respectively for the construction of the Presidential (VIP) Wing of the State House Clinic, and as of March, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijanni Umar, confirmed the money had already been paid in full.

Mr. Umar also disclosed that out of the N20.8 billion allocated for the same project in the 2022 budget, the federal government had paid N8.5 billion, meaning that between 2020 and 2022, at least the sum of N10 billion has been spent on the construction of the Presidential Wing of the State House Clinic.

The huge investment in the State House’s medical facilities has, however, not stopped the President from his frequent trips to the United Kingdom for

Expert speaks
The former Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, said though the new federal medical centre will serve both the President and the people of Daura community, it is still politically motivated.

Mr Yusuf, now the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), added that the allocation of money for new projects is mostly designed to achieve some particular political interests.

He said: “Obviously allocation of money for some projects is mostly politically influenced. This is not restricted to the federal level, it also happens at the state level. Projects are mostly designed to suit some particular political interests.

“At the National Assembly, most legislators try to influence projects for their constituents. A university was also established in former President Jonathan’s village. These are decisions that are politically driven.

“The establishment of a new medical centre in Daura is not a coincidence, it was deliberate, although I see it as a way to serve the people of Daura and not the president alone”.

Govt keeps mum
The government has declined comment on the development, describing it as a policy decision.

The Deputy Director, Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, Ahmadu Chindaya, declined to speak on the matter in a terse response to PREMIUM TIMES’s reporter’s message after many calls to his telephone line were unanswered.

The official, who rather volunteered to link up to a director in charge of policies at the ministry, however, noted such would not be feasible immediately.

He said: “We are holding National Council on Health. It started yesterday running to Friday. So you can’t meet me on the seat.”


Credit: Premium Times


Victor Osimhen Grabs Brace On 100th Appearance For Napoli



Victor Osimhen scored twice as Napoli were held to a 2-2 draw by Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on Sunday afternoon.

Osimhen opened the scoring for the Partenopei in the 14th minute.

The Nigeria international added the second 10 minutes after the break.

Bologna rallied to equalise afterwards, earning a share of the spoils.

The game was Osimhen’s 100th appearance across all competitions for Napoli.

The 24-year-old has scored 25 goals in 31 league appearances for Luciano Spalletti’s side this season.

Napoli will host Sampdoria in their last league game of the season next week.

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Sanwo-Olu Unveils Official Portrait For Second Term



Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has unveiled his new official portrait ahead of May 29th inauguration for his second term in office.

In a statement released on Sunday and signed by his media adviser, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, the new portrait, which is expected to be hung in all government and non-government offices across the State from Monday 29th of May, shows Governor Sanwo-Olu in a traditional white Agbada, with a carton brown handmade cap with blue stripes that has become his brand identity.

The new portrait is a departure from the previous one where the Governor wears a blue suit, white shirt and blue tie.

The portrait was photographed by ace photographer Ademola Olaniran, who brought his depth of professionalism and creativity into the finished work.

The portrait can also be found on all the official social media handles of Mr. Governor, Lagos State Government and websites.

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Chronicling Tokunbo Wahab’s Home Run In Education By Adeshina Oyetayo



Each person is a thread in the tapestry of creation but some people stand outside of the weave directing the thread and painting the pictures that become reality. Tokunbo Wahab, the immediate past Special Adviser on Education to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is one of the rare latter.

Undoubtedly one of the brightest but self-effacing stars in the first term of Sanwo-Olu’s administration, Wahab covets neither paeans nor rhapsodies for his commanding tour de force in the actualisation of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s vision for the rejuvenation of tertiary education as encapsulated under the ingenious T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda. And he is forever quick to counsel folk about his ordinariness while preventing them from dressing him in what he considers spurious cloaks of a ‘messiah,’ or ‘deity’ or ‘tin god.’

Gangling and genial, generous and god-fearing, everybody seems to love the successful lawyer-turned-public servant for his humility, generosity of spirit, and fierce loyalty to the success of Governor Sanwo-Olu.

Beneficiaries of his exceptional humaneness in private and public offices frequently have wonderful stories to share from their encounters with him. However brief or extended the encounter is, Wahab snatches grief or gloom from acquaintances and replaces it with joy and joie de vivre because he sees a relative in everyone. He believes humanity is one large family divided along race, religion, and other bigoted lines and his response to this defies the depths of human failings and pretensions of altruism.

His first emergence on the political circuit in Lagos State was as a governorship aspirant in 2014 in the All Progressives Congress. He was 42 years old with lush, emergent grey beards that accentuated his smouldering, boyish visage.

Apart from fellow lawyers, social collaborators, and a sprinkling of media people, the Epe-born University of Benin graduate was barely known. Yet, he aspired to govern Lagos State! His mantra was – “Think Lagos for a tomorrow that works.” It was an audacious and astonishing move that generated a lot of discourse in the media space. Wahab did not get the ticket but he had already announced himself to those that matter in the political configuration of the state and the party at large.

Fast forward to 2019; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu appointed Wahab as his Special Adviser on Education, charging him to steer and supervise his vision for tertiary institutions in Lagos State. Wahab went full gung-ho into the assignment, cutting large swaths through the convolution that is the tertiary education ecosystem while earning his principal accolades from far and near.

Until 2022, Lagos had just one university – the Lagos State University. Yet, statistics from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board revealed that in 2020, out of 574,782 candidates that applied to sit the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination from the six states in the South-West, Lagos State alone accounted for almost half of the figure at 240,829. LASU couldn’t admit more than 5,000 at a go, yet the applications were very high. It was a ticking time bomb.

Conversely, Wahab said, “Ondo has three (higher institutions) and Ogun has two. Not until recently when Osun and Oyo states went their separate ways on the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, the two also had more than one state-owned university. The implication is that our students from Lagos continue to struggle to gain admission to universities because other states usually introduce classification based on indigeneship.”

With just a tenacity of purpose and a terrier devotion to the belief that Lagos State, with its growing youth population, deserved more than one university, Wahab worked round the clock, consulted extensively, and networked widely to ensure that the state’s bid to get two more universities accredited by the National Universities Commission was achieved.

On February 8, 2022, the NUC, the regulatory body in charge of universities in Nigeria, approved the take-off of the two new specialised universities in Lagos State. While the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and the Michael Otedola College of Primary Education morphed into the Lagos State University of Education; the Lagos State Polytechnic was upgraded to the Lagos State University of Science and Technology.

For Wahab, the approval and eventual take-off of the universities remains a veritable home run, the culmination of many years of hard work, and a fulfilment of one of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s cardinal promises to Lagosians to give the youths more access to affordable and qualitative varsity education.

He did not just help to birth new higher institutions, Wahab is also helping products of the state’s tertiary institutions to adequately prepare for the world of work with the Jobs Initiative Lagos which aims to fill the documented gaps in the current curriculum that is essential in the employment market and enhances the employability of graduates in Lagos.

The programme is a spin-off of the Ready-Set-Work initiative, an employability and entrepreneurship program aimed at preparing final-year students for immediate entry into the workforce as employees and employers of labour by equipping them with the knowledge, soft skills, business tools, and a mindset reorientation to the world of work.

It runs alongside the digital skills campaign, ‘Digital Skills Initiative Lagos’, launched in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown to empower young people in the state with digital skills that will invariably position Lagos as the Tech Hub of Africa.

Even more symbolic is the turnaround in LASU, which was infamous for its fractious transition of power. This time, a new vice-chancellor, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, was appointed in a transparent and seamless, and applause-worthy process.

With the strong backing of Governor Sanwo-Olu, LASU did not join the months-long Academic Staff Union of Universities strike.

More than four decades after it was established, LASU is set to become a residential tertiary institution as the state government, under the Public-Private Partnership has signed a Build, Operate and Transfer agreement with six property developers to construct 8,272 units of hostels in the school’s premises.

Not forgetting that Wahab masterminded the collaboration between LASU and Cornell University, New York, for 16 professional certificate programmes to be run by the two institutions.

Wahab said then that the decision to collaborate with Cornell University rated as one of the leading universities globally, was borne out of the desire to keep and sustain LASU’s pedigree and high academic profile as the second-best university in Nigeria and one of the best 600 in the world.

He added that the establishment of LASU/Cornell University Postgraduate Professional Certificate Programmes was aimed at giving prospective students across the country an opportunity to gain global skills and professional expertise that will not only make them relevant and employable but globally competitive in the 21st Century digital economy.

At the risk of sounding clichéd, Wahab has redefined the tertiary education landscape of Lagos State and inadvertently written his name in gold with his robust catalogue of achievements in the all–important sector.

For Wahab, the dissolution of the Sanwo-Olu administration last Wednesday, May 24, was the end of an impactful era, but for a man who sees the hydraulic lifts on which his public career is being hoisted and the machinery that is steadily and surefootedly wheeling him to the centre stage, May 29, 2023, or the days after, will signal, ceteris paribus, the beginning of an even more impactful era. Take a bow, Toks!

Oyetayo, a Lagos-based media executive, can be reached on social media via @shynewriter

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